When I finished this novel, I wondered, as I always do when I finish a Toni Morrison novel, why I ever read anything else. I read it over break, and after months of reading for school rather than pleasure, it was a relief to bury myself in beautiful writing.
Love follows the Cosey family through three generations, from the start to the end of the twentieth century. The Coseys are a wealthy black family whose wealth comes from a beachfront hotel owned by Mr. Cosey, the grandfather and patriarch. The story has various narrators, including the women who lived under his roof and his influence - his daughter, granddaughter, cook, and young wife, as well as the unstable teenage girl who feels his presence in the house long after his death.
That detail particularly struck me as I was reading - the apparent immortality of his influence. Mr. Cosey was a great man - a Black American who enriched himself in the face of violent racism, who quietly paid for the weddings and hospital bills of his neighbors, who spent generously and loved luxury. But after his death, he became more than great. He became a god. And the sins of his life were forgiven, even by the ones he blessed and hurt the most. There are no simple characters in this book - no gods, no straightforward heroes, and no villains either.